TriBERT: Human-centric Audio-visual Representation Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Tanzila Rahman, Mengyu Yang, Leonid Sigal

Abstract

The recent success of transformer models in language, such as BERT, has motivated the use of such architectures for multi-modal feature learning and tasks. However, most multi-modal variants (e.g., ViLBERT) have limited themselves to visual-linguistic data. Relatively few have explored its use in audio-visual modalities, and none, to our knowledge, illustrate them in the context of granular audio-visual detection or segmentation tasks such as sound source separation and localization. In this work, we introduce TriBERT -- a transformer-based architecture, inspired by ViLBERT, which enables contextual feature learning across three modalities: vision, pose, and audio, with the use of flexible co-attention. The use of pose keypoints is inspired by recent works that illustrate that such representations can significantly boost performance in many audio-visual scenarios where often one or more persons are responsible for the sound explicitly (e.g., talking) or implicitly (e.g., sound produced as a function of human manipulating an object). From a technical perspective, as part of the TriBERT architecture, we introduce a learned visual tokenization scheme based on spatial attention and leverage weak-supervision to allow granular cross-modal interactions for visual and pose modalities. Further, we supplement learning with sound-source separation loss formulated across all three streams. We pre-train our model on the large MUSIC21 dataset and demonstrate improved performance in audio-visual sound source separation on that dataset as well as other datasets through fine-tuning. In addition, we show that the learned TriBERT representations are generic and significantly improve performance on other audio-visual tasks such as cross-modal audio-visual-pose retrieval by as much as 66.7% in top-1 accuracy.